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MSC awarded for producing top local product MSC produces quake-resistant steel


Mobarakeh Steel Company has designed and developed an innovative product, quake-resistant steel, in cooperation with Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology (KNTU) and Isfahan University of Technology. This innovative product – which has designed and produced by the company’s technology, operations, sales and marketing departments – aims to promote competitiveness and help MSC take yet another step toward undertaking its social responsibilities.    
The quake-resistant steel earned MSC the golden tablet of a 2nd edition of the national festival of innovation for Iran’s top products. The festival, which brought together a host of officials, elites and university professors, was held in Sharif University of Technology and sponsored by the center for development of culture, science, technology and knowledge-based economy at the Presidential Office’s Science and Technology Department.  
Following the receipt of the award, MSC's Chief Technology Officer Manouchehr Nikfar said, “For Mobarakeh Steel Company, a world-class organization, innovation is not merely a choice; rather, it is a necessity for business sustainability. It has formulated and implemented comprehensive operational and strategic plans in a bid to turn into an innovative organization. Product innovation is one such strategy which is pursued through development of the related intradepartmental processes, networking and interaction with the environment. To that end, the company establishes close, effective interactions with customers and constantly receives and analyzes their views and needs. MSC also tries to monitor the market, its rivals, the procedures of products and the needed technologies so that it can always update its basket of products.”
To secure that end, MSC uses its own potential and taps into the knowledge of its experts, he said, adding that the company has struck up effective interactions with universities, research centers, knowledge-based companies and experts of the steel industry in order to boost innovation ecosystems.          
Nikfar said collective efforts of MSC managers and staffers should be credited for this achievement which is the direct result of cooperation between the industry and the country’s universities and elite. He also thanked them all for the breakthrough.
 
Mild steel in CBF, EBF, SPSW helps increase thickness of steel sheets
The mild steel used in lateral load-resisting parts of the Concentrically Braced Steel Frames (CBF) and the Eccentrically Braced Frames (EBF) as well as in Steel Plate Shear Walls (SPSW) will help increase the cross section area of braces and the thickness of steel sheets if their bearing capacity is maintained.
Professor Sabouri of the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology says humans have tried to increase the resistance of steel ever since it was used in the building structures. “This has been aimed at cutting the weight of structure by making sections of the structure parts thinner, thus turn the product more cost-effective. The steel’s increased resistance does not always benefit all parts of a steel structure; rather, for some parts the resistance should be decreased as much as possible so that the structure can display a better behavior.
“For the structure parts which are expected to absorb the energy aimed at them through non-linear behavior, it’s better to have low-resistant steel or mild steel with a nominal low yield point of between 90 and 120 newton per square millimeter (N/mm²) and high levels of plasticity. The use of mild steel becomes all the more palpable when it comes to steel structures which are exposed to lateral loads, especially those stemming from earthquakes.”      
The mild steel used in lateral load-resisting parts of the Concentrically Braced Steel Frames (CBF) and the Eccentrically Braced Frames (EBF) as well as in Steel Plate Shear Walls (SPSW) will help increase the cross section area of braces and the thickness of steel sheets if their bearing capacity is maintained, he said.
The increase will bring about a remarkable decrease in section implication and an increase in their shear stiffness. The former causes the main load bearing parts of the structures such as columns to become smaller due to drift [ratio] and to be immune from serious losses due to a drastic time decrease. It also helps reduce – to a large extent – the unpleasant effects of uncertain prospect.
This becomes more serious when the structure enters the non-linear area to absorb the energy [an earthquake unleashes]. In such circumstances, lateral load-resisting parts such as braces or steel sheets in the shear walls – in which mild steel has been used – turn non-linear in smaller location shifts and absorb much of the [released] energy. Thus, the main members of the load resisting parts like columns remain linear and immune to the losses caused by turning non-linear.   
As braces grow fat in bracing systems and steel sheets grow thicker in shear walls due to the use of mild steel, their buckling will happen at higher compressive stresses. This translates into tangible improvements in hysteresis loops in these systems caused by the loads in lateral loops and a rise in energy absorption. The main steel capacity in the loads of the loops is indicative of more cost-effective and efficient use of steel in [seismic] resistant systems.     
 
MSC welcomed production of mild steel
Prof. Mohammad Reza Toroghinejad, the president of the Department of Materials Engineering at Isfahan University of Technology, meanwhile, said that Mobarakeh Steel Company (MSC) realized the sensitivity of the issue and welcomed calls for production of mild steel.  
He further said in light of the fact that mild steel has a very low yield point, it is used in shear walls of buildings, thus when an earthquake strikes it can quickly become as pliable as plastic to offset the destructive impact of the tremor.   
To make such transformation a possibility, the steel should have a yield point (tensile strength) of below 100 megapascals. Fortunately, Mobarakeh Steel Company put together a project backed by Dr. Sabouri. As a professor who lectures on civil engineering, he raised the question of civil engineering. I asked to join him as a colleague at the metallurgic department of steel production to work out methods to reduce the tensile strength to below or around 100 megapascals. I was put in charge of a team tasked with designing and assessing mild steel in terms of structural shape and metallurgical features. Mild steel is a new product in the world, especially in Iran. Fortunately MSC realized the sensitivity of the issue and welcomed a request for production of mild steel and cooperated to that end.  
When it comes to research, I think we need to work on it more because the strength of our mild steel is still above 100 megapascals; it should be scaled down to below 100. In light of the fact that Iran is a quake-prone country and several quakes over the past few months have wreaked havoc in different parts of the country, we need to take steps toward modern designing in the construction industry. If shear wall systems are used in buildings, they can easily absorb the energy the quake exerts on the building, and decrease destruction when an earthquake hits.    
Currently a working group, namely product quality improvement working group, which has been formed at Mobarakeh Steel Company is focusing on ways to better the quality of products. 
 
Mild steel less resistant than steel used in buildings, higher in ductility
Gholamreza Javanmardi, MSC’s manager of Metallurgy and Manufacturing Methods, has said that the theory that promotes the use of mild steel in building structures has caught on in recent years and become operational around the world. Mild steel whose resistance is lower than the steel used in buildings and comes with higher ductility is used in the lateral load-resisting parts of structures to absorb the energy.   
Mild steel is also used in shear wall systems, concentric and eccentric braces, braces resistant to the buckling of energy absorber panels and other lateral [load] resisting systems and their behavior, and it can improve the bearing capacity of lateral loads to a great extent.  
 
MSC wins top Iranian product award thanks to extensive innovation potential 
Shahram Abbasi, who is in charge of the R & D Department at Mobarakeh Steel Company, has said that the 2nd edition of the national festival of innovation for top local products, which has brought together top companies on the innovative front, can help improve the company’s standing as far as innovation and products are concerned.
He further said the festival also aims to set the stage for introducing and appreciating the efforts of those who are involved in the industry sector, including those active in production and presentation of new goods and services in society.
Backed by the managing director and aided by its Technology Department, Mobarakeh Steel Company attended the festival for the first time and had itself assessed [by experts] by introducing its innovative product, namely, quake-resistant steel, he said. “This type of steel has come on the back of efforts by MSC staffers at technology, operations, sales and marketing departments and in the form of a joint research project with Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology and Department of Materials Engineering at Isfahan University of Technology. Fortunately, the company managed to secure the golden tablet of top Iranian product thanks to its huge potential of product innovation.”
He went on to hope that the innovative quake-resistant steel can set the stage for development of steel structures, improvement of construction in the country and strengthened buildings so that they can weather natural disasters and the damage they leave in their wake.    
 
MSC tries its best to be driver of technology
In light of its mission and strategies, Mobarakeh Steel Company has always been trying to serve as a technological driver of different industries, offer modern products and talk downstream industries into using such products and improving the quality of their products by carrying out market research and identifying the needs of different industries.
Gholamreza Taheri, director of Planning and Market Research at Mobarakeh Steel Company, further said one key issue in the construction industry, especially in metal structures, is how to make the structures resistant to earthquakes. To that end, designers do complex calculations, he said, adding there are some legal requirements, directives and standards compliance with which is mandatory in almost all countries.  
Given the importance of earthquakes, researchers around the world have carried out numerous studies to improve structures and further strengthen them in the face of tremors. In recent years some studies have been the focus of researchers’ attention among them: production of a kind of steel capable of absorbing the huge energy an earthquake unleashes against the structure before it can assume a new shape to prevent damage to the structure. Such steel should at least make the incoming energy tolerable for the structure. 
This type of steel, known as sacrificial steel, is used in different parts of the structure so that it can absorb the incoming energy an earthquake triggers and prevent it from being transferred to other parts of the structure and potentially destroying it. 
Since the question of resistance against earthquakes is of great significance in the country and the region, production of such steel items was placed on the agenda of different units in the company which successfully made the new product by tapping into the local knowhow and existing equipment.
In light of the fact that in the analyses conducted the new product has been placed in the GE matrix [in which each brand or product is mapped based on business strength and attractiveness] and has been found to have middle attractiveness and high strength, the company’s sales and marketing departments is giving priority to this product’s market development.
To increase the consumption of mild steel in the construction industry, the following methods can be pursued: reviewing the standards and directives of Iran Construction Engineering Organization (IRCEO), as well as holding specialized conferences and seminars to introduce the new product and its application in designing the structures. This can help the country tap into domestic potential and the existing capabilities to make headway and use modern technologies in the construction industry in the future.
 
Mild steel can be widely used in quake-resistant structures
The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, Iran Construction Engineering Organization and Iran National Standards Organization should work together to set the stage for mild steel to be widely used in the quake-resistant structures. 
Shahrokh Pour-Mostadam, a metallurgy and production method expert at MSC, said that a research project to produce mild steel – which MSC conducted in cooperation with Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology and Isfahan University of Technology – was worked out in two main phases, namely structural and metallurgical.
This type of steel, also known as low yield steel (LYS -100) or easy-going steel (EGS -100), has been produced at Mobarakeh Steel Company on the back of research and investment in the installation and launch of RH Vacuum Degassing Technology (RH-OB).
For [production of] this type of steel which has yield stress of 80 – 120, tensile strength of 200300 megapascals, and elongation of at least 50 percent, carbon should be less than 0.02 percent and manganese should be cut to 0.2 percent.     
MSC’s Hot-Rolling Unit tapped into the designing carried out at the company’s metallurgy and production method unit to produce as much as 2,000 tons of molten steel whose carbon was 0.002 percent and manganese 0.04 percent (6 and 8 mm in thickness). During the production process, the temperature of the final rolled steel stood at 900 ºC and that of coils hit 700 ºC.
Mild steel can be widely used in the quake-resistant structures in cooperation with the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, Iran Construction Engineering Organization and Iran National Standards Organization. 
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Production of mild steel, which has a special grade, and other key issues such as controlling the volume of carbon and manganese, going through RH-TOP cycle and the appropriate conditions of the casting machine were perfectly accomplished to prevent defects, especially internal ones.   
Mohammad Reza Banaeean Mofrad, who is in charge of the Steel Making and Continuous Casting Unit at MSC, said that his unit has always given priority to production of different types of top-quality flat steel products in line with its organizational mission and social responsibility. To that end, the designing and production of quake-resistant steel came around after it went through different processes at the metallurgy unit in cooperation with the Steel Making and Continuous Casting Unit and after it finished the production stage by going through electric arc furnaces, secondary metallurgy, RH-TOP and continuous casting.    
All through the production processes, the operability of equipment increased and experts were on hand to fully inspect the process. 
Finally, I would like to thank all hardworking colleagues at the Steel Making and Continuous Casting Unit for their tireless efforts which resulted in the production of this steel grade.
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MSC’s Hot-Rolling Unit managed to produce quake-resistant steel (marketed through LYP trademark) after carrying out feasibility studies and reviewing its production method. The product measures 6*1,500 and 8*1,500.
Alireza Key-Yeganeh, the head of the technical group at the Hot-Rolling Unit at MSC, said in light of the fact that this product has special features such as low levels of carbon (C) and manganese (Mn), special high temperatures of final rolls (FT=920) and the coiling temperature (CT=700), it was necessary to calculate and set special procedural conditions in different parts of the hot rolls from preheating furnaces to the end of the coiling process in order to secure sustainable, top-quality production. 
In this regard, the roughing temperature of preliminary rolls was at the highest (1090°C) and the thickness of the outgoing load was around 38 mm. In light of the fact that this steel is mild, efforts were made to control the conditions of the cooling and rolling speed by taking into account the sustainability conditions of the rolls and meeting their quality requirements. 
To secure higher quality and special features in the product, the following were conducted: control of the conditions of rolling stands, strip cooling and descaling.
Given the special features of chemical analysis and production characteristics in hot rolling, this product has a low yield point. Thanks to its primary design, the product can be used in quake-resistance structures.       
Currently, the Hot-Rolling Unit which has access to procedural and equipment-related guidelines and standards can continue production of the product in addition to reviewing and producing similar products.
He thanked all those in the Hot-Rolling Unit who were involved in the production of this kind of steel.


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